To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has on the percentage of total mortgage holders who pay interest on an annualised basis.
More than 40 per cent. of building society borrowers are members of annual review schemes. No precise information is available on banks and other mortgage lenders.
Will the Secretary of State assure those millions of people, of whom I am one, who have their mortgage payments adjusted annually in the spring, that the next time they are adjusted they can look forward to a reduction in payments?
Interest rates will remain as high as necessary for as long as necessary to bear down on inflation. Once inflation has been conquered in that way, interest rates might come down.
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is hypocritical for Opposition Members to talk about the impact of interest rates on mortgages when they opposed the right to buy and when their roof tax would bankrupt many householders?
My hon. Friend is right. The Labour party is growing increasingly unsure of itself as those sorts of charges are made.
When the Economic Secretary attacked yesterday inaccurate and misleading advertising of mortgages, was he referring to either or both of the following, beginning respectively:
[Interruption ]"John Major might take a year to cut"—
Order. We paraphrase at Question Time.
Was he referring to either or both advertisements that suggest that the Chancellor might cut mortgage rates or that the surest way in which to ensure that mortgage rates come down is to bring about a general election in which case there would be nothing to pay? When he was referring to misleading mortgage advertisements—[Interruption.]
The hon. Member is in order. He is not quoting now.
When the Minister was referring to misleading mortgage advertisements, did he have in mind perhaps the biggest-ever misadvertisement for mortgages—that there was any prospect of interest rates coming down in the immediate future and some relief being given to people who are suffering the enormous mortgage misery that affects so many home owners and home buyers in Britain?
That was a poor advertisement for a sound bite. The answer to the hon. Gentleman's question is no.